Me and my iliopsoas are not friends

I have no power in my legs, an irritated iliopsoas after every run and cramp in my hamstrings. Why? I didn’t know. Now I do. 

Sometimes you know something is wrong, but you don’t know precisely what. I had that the last couple of weeks. No power in my legs, irritated iliopsoas after every run and a cramp in my hamstring during walking breaks. Why? I didn’t know. Now I do. 

Most injuries I can work out myself. I am a massage therapist after all, and I’ve been doing yoga for more than 10 years. I kind of know my body. However, sometimes I do feel something is wrong, but I can’t pin it down. 


Irritated iliopsoas

Ever since the ERYRI at Ultra Trail Snowdonia I have had that feeling. It started with my right iliopsoas being irritated. I thought it had to do with all the climbing we had to do during that run, but the irritation didn’t go away, even with rest. Sure, it became a little bit less, but it stayed. 

After the Dolomiti Extreme Trail I struggled with my right hip and right hamstring. I blamed it on the race. It was long, heavy and high (3.800 meters of altitude). Rest and yoga would fix it. That’s my go-to cure. It didn’t. 


No power in my legs

In the last couple of runs I missed power in my legs. At first I thought it had to do with my resting period. I mean, I hadn’t run for 2 weeks after the Dolomiti Extreme Trail, and before that race I took it easy for more than a month. But something didn’t feel right. 

When I don’t know what is wrong with me, I go to Michel Verelst, a physiotherapist and osteopath in Geel, Belgium. It took him two minutes to work it out. Just listening to my story, he had an idea and as soon as I lay down on the table, he knew for sure. My third lumbar vertebra was blocked. It’s one of the vertebrae my iliopsoas inserts on. 


Low back problems

I should have known. Lately I felt my low back lately, but I am so used to having low back problems I didn’t link the two. I thought the reason I couldn’t put my hands flat on the floor anymore was the stiffness in my hamstrings

The block in my spine irritates my iliopsoas, the muscle that brings your leg forward, and doesn’t let me run smoothly. It sets off a chain reaction which results in my right hip and hamstring being irritated when I run. 


Stress mode

An irritated iliopsoas is not something you want to have. That muscle is directly connected to your fight/flight mode. If it’s tight, it will keep you in a stress mode. But that’s a story for another time. 

For now, the good news is that Verelst unblocked me. Today I will rest. Tomorrow or Friday I will put on my running shoes again. If everything is okay now, I will feel fresh and fast

Today's training

Vinyasa Flow Yoga - Slow Flow
55 minutes

Tuesday, July 11
Combination Run; strength and tempo (first part with Sara)
14,93 kilometers in 1 hour, 38 minutes and 13 seconds

Yin Yoga for Runners
45 minutes

Monday, July 10
Vinyasa Flow Yoga - Slow Flow
69 minutes

Morning Meditation & Pranayama
24 minutes

Mickey Mouse-badge walk
72 minutes

Strength training:Lower Back, Chest, Glutes, Quadriceps, Abs
34 minutes


John Kraijenbrink

The Running Dutchman

I run. Trails mostly. I am Dutch. That makes me The Running Dutchman.

I am also a massage therapist, yogi, sports science nerd, and journalist/writer. Everything I learn and research about trail running, I share here, on this website, with you.

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